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Rising Star: Miami Sophomore Shane Larkin

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(credit: Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

(credit: Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

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By: Mark Chalifoux

If Shane Larkin has been on a sports fan’s radar, it’s mostly because he’s the son of Baseball Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin. After his breakout game against North Carolina this weekend, it’s time to recognize him as one of college basketball’s rising stars.

Miami can be an afterthought in the tradition-rich ACC, but the Hurricanes are a top-10 team this season and the sophomore point guard is one of the chief reasons why. On a nationally-televised game Feb. 9, Larkin dropped 18 points and nine assists on the Tar Heels as Miami smacked UNC 87-61. For the season, he’s averaging 13 points, four rebounds and four assists per game.

What’s even more impressive is his long-range accuracy. The sharpshooter has been averaging a blistering 43 percent from behind the arc (he had five against North Carolina).

The Hurricanes (18-3) are having one of the best seasons in program history as Miami has reached the program’s highest ranking (No. 8) and seems poised for a run in March. Larkin’s defense has also been a boon to the Hurricanes, as he averages more than two steals per game and is regarded as one of the best defenders in the conference.

While both Larkin and Miami are having banner seasons, don’t expect Larkin to jump ship any time soon. He’s heating up but still hasn’t generated much chatter around NBA scouts just yet. He is a little undersized (5 foot 11-inches) and has trouble finishing around the rim occasionally. He will need all four years to convince scouts to spend a draft pick on him but it won’t take him that long to become a great college point guard.

He may fully make that jump this season and if he keeps Miami near the top of the ACC over the next few seasons, there won’t be many people who don’t know who Shane Larkin is.

Miami v. UNC highlights

Mark Chalifoux is a college basketball contributor for CBS Local Digital Media and can be reached at mark.chalifoux@gmail.com and @markchalifoux on Twitter.

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